Government of Canada Invests in the Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative

TORONTO, Ont. / October 9, 2012 Today, the Honourable Peter Kent, Canada’s Environment Minister, announced an important investment over four years to address the complex problems of recurrent toxic and nuisance algae, and nearshore water quality and ecosystem health in the Great Lakes.

Toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie, October 2011

Toxic algae bloom in Lake Erie from October 2011 is the worst in decades. © NASA Earth Observatory / Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon

“The Great Lakes are fundamental to the well-being of Canadians,” said Minister Kent. “Canadians depend on the lakes for their drinking water, for recreation and for jobs. In addition, the Great Lakes form an ecosystem that supports more than 3,500 species of plants and animals. With this investment, the Harper Government is working to realize a vision of healthy, prosperous lakes.”

The Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative will advance the science to understand and address recurrent toxic and nuisance algae in the Great Lakes. Caused by excessive phosphorus discharges, toxic and nuisance algae blooms can lead to increased water treatment needs and disruptions to utilities by clogged water intakes. They also have negative effects on tourism, commercial and recreational fishing, and recreational activities such as swimming.

The $16 million Initiative will focus efforts geographically on Lake Erie, the Great Lake most impacted by toxic and nuisance algae. The approaches and knowledge developed through the Initiative will be transferable to the other Great Lakes and other bodies of water in Canada.

The Great Lakes Nutrient Initiative will also help the Government of Canada to deliver on its commitments under the recently amended Canada–United States Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.

Source: Environment Canada